In their new book (launching today!), Urban Legends of Church History: 40 Common Misconceptions, my colleagues Drs. John Adair and Michael Svigel dispel dozens of oft-repeated myths related to the history of the church. These friends take on important issues like the canonization of the Bible, the development of the doctrine of the Trinity, and salvation by grace through faith—important fallacies, exaggerations, or misunderstandings from the early church, the medieval period, the Protestant era, and the modern age. Each chapter both corrects the urban legend and includes an application section highlighting implications for us today.
Besides the forty major myths, Adair and Svigel also include brief “Mini Myths,” features addressing common legends floating around in popular culture. One of these counters the legend that the Roman Catholic Church once had a female Pope; another corrects the popular Christmastime claim that St. Nicholas punched Arius in the face at the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325.
Adair and Svigel also weigh in on some issues of debate in the modern church, like whether the United States was founded as a Christian nation or whether the church had always taken Genesis 1 literally until the challenge of evolution.
In one chapter Adair and Svigel argue that the early church had an ordained office of “minister” (or “deaconess”), and they offer up some practical advice for today: “Refusing women any kind of church office can lead us to think about the work of the ministry as the exclusive territory of males. Rather, the witness of the early church suggests that the focus should be on looking for opportunities for all of the church’s members to serve the family of God” (p. 74).
Rather than irrelevant trivia from the past, Urban Legends of Church History provides wisdom and insight to help us think through issues today. I highly recommend this resource.
Where can you get it?